Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exercise, Fitness and Sports for the 16 personality types

With exercise and fitness being one of my biggest interests, it got me thinking the other day what types of exercise and training environments would appeal to each of the different personality types. I think understanding personality types can be very useful in the athletic and exercise fields, for trainers/coaches and athletes/trainees in how to find out what types of sports/exercise you'd be best suited to and give you the best results/most satisfaction. Here's what I came up with

Extroverted Feeling (Fe) dominant –ESFJ (Fe-Si) and ENFJ (Fe-Ni)

They feel energised connecting and bonding with other people, so they’ll probably work best with group exercise sessions in a social, harmonious environment that allow them to connect with others. Good options for ESFJ’s and ENFJ’s might include group training sessions or classes (e.g. spinning, body pump, pilates etc.) or team/duo sports (e.g. football, soccer, netball, hockey, rugby, tennis etc.)

Extraverted Thinking (Te) dominant – ESTJ (Te-Si) and ENTJ (Te-Ni)

They feel energised by creating structure and plans to achieve the best end result - they want what will deliver them the best end result, so structure, plans and measures will sit very well with them – they’ll enjoy a clean and efficient environment that will best allow them to accomplish their goals – a combination of weight training and interval cardio training are well suited to ENTJ and ESTJ as both forms are extremely effective in delivering outstanding both fitness and body composition results - some good options for ESTJ’s and ENTJ’s might be a personal training from a highly reputable professional trainer or following a pre-formed training plan from a DVD, book or website that consistently delivers outstanding results (e.g. for weight training – Starting Strength is a great example)

Introverted Thinking (Ti) dominant – ISTP (Ti-Se) and INTP (Ti-Ne)

They feel energised discovering the principles by how things work, so they’ll enjoy learning and tinkering with/refining their training to find out what methods, techniques and programs give them the best results - they’ll probably prefer a more individual forms of exercise and sports (e.g. weightlifting, powerlifting, athletics, running, triathlons, kayaking, martial arts, rock climbing etc.) - if they receive coaching or personal training they’ll most likely want to understand how and why the exercise their doing works and will deliver them results before they do it.

Introverted Sensing (Si) dominant – ISTJ (Si-Te) and ISFJ (Si-Fe)

They feel energised by familiarity, reliability and stability in their work and environment, so they’ll prefer a form exercise that they can do regularly and incorporate into their daily routines, that has been known to be reliable in producing results and stood the test of time like weight training with free weights and/or cardiovascular training (walking, running, cycling) and/or popular/well known sports in a traditional institutions or familiar settings (e.g. at home, local gym, sports club or local park/neighbourhood).

Extraverted Intuition (Ne) dominant – ENTP (Ne-Ti) and ENFP (Ne-Fi)

They feel energised by exploring and connecting the world of possibilities and meanings, so they are more likely to get bored by exercise than any other type, so making exercise fun, varied, interesting, unconventional and changing in techniques and environments will often work best . I think an approach like CrossFit’s, may interest athletic ENTP and ENFP’s as they incorporate a variety of different training techniques/methods/ideas from different sporting codes and fitness disciplines ... there are also many clubs set up around the world if you want to train with others – but be warned it’s definitely not for the faint hearted!

Introverted Feeling (Fi) dominant – ISFP (Fi-Se) and INFP (Fi-Ne)

They feel energised by adhering to their personal feelings, values and beliefs - so exercise that has personal relevance/meaning/appeal to them will be the most attractive to them. They also tend to prefer an environment in which they can experience natural beauty, so a scenic and serene outdoor setting works well. Forms of exercise they may enjoy are hiking, trekking, trail running and open water canoeing.

Introverted Intuition (Ni) dominant – INTJ (Ni-Te) and INFJ (Ni-Fe)

They feel energised by envisioning a future change or transformation – so they’ll work best when they have a mental image/envision a transformation whether that be in body composition (losing fat or gaining muscle), getting faster, stronger, improving endurance etc., that they can keep in mind and work towards. They’ll probably lean towards individual sports and exercises such as weight training, bodybuilding/figure competition training, athletics, martial arts, triathlons/marathons, cycling and swimming.

Extraverted Sensing (Se) dominant - ESTP (Se-Ti) and ESFP (Se-Fi)

They feel energised by living in the moment and experience the outside physical world in rich detail – outdoor activities (preferably with a crowd!) are ideal as they allow for great sensory stimulation – ESTP’s and ESFP’s tend to most enjoy being involved with fast moving outdoor team sports such as football, soccer, basketball, rugby, hockey and ultimate frisbee or individual sports  (e.g. weightlifting, powerlifting, athletics, running, triathlons, kayaking, martial arts, rock climbing etc.) with partner(s) joining and/or competing with them.

For more information by people that have actually put more thought and research into their findings about exercise, fitness and sports and their relation to MBTI personality types check out The 8 Colors of Fitness by Suzanne Brue and Your Keys To Sports Success by Jonathan Niednagel.

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